Little speaks on the enduring legacy of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with particular attention to questions of freedom of religion. In response to skepticism regarding the very existence of norms human beings can all agree to protect, he sketches a philosophical justification of the human rights language codified in the U.N. Declaration. He also defends the Declaration's ideal of religious freedom, in particular against critics in predominantly religious societies who argue that it is an imposition of western culture that insufficiently protects against the "defamation of religion." Finally, Little argues for the continued importance of the concept of "human rights," in the face of pragmatist and relativist challenges to rights language as a basis for universally recognized moral and political boundaries. Professor Little is the T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at Harvard Divinity School, and Director of Initiatives in Religion and Public Life. Charles P. Scott lecture series
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